Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
It's no secret that the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and the Graduate and Professional Student Council have a little bad blood.
Earlier this semester, ASUA President Cade Bernsen dismissed the GPSC as nothing more than a "club" that was "splitting hairs" about its lack of representation on the presidential search committee.
And after optical science graduate students voted to be represented solely by GPSC last week, GPSC President Elaine Ulrich told the Arizona Daily Wildcat that ASUA "falsely claims" to represent all UA students.
Given the positive steps that the UA has taken toward improving the status of its graduate students, GPSC's decision to trade barbs with ASUA seems a curious one.
It might be instinctive for leaders to want to mark their turf, but there's little to be gained by it now, especially in light of the UA administration's decision to increase the number of graduate and professional students from 6,850 to 10,000 in the next five years.
Given GPSC's constituency, this presents a unique opportunity to affect positive and lasting change, but the graduate council has made it clear that its goal at the moment is winning the right to represent even more graduate students in additional colleges across the campus.
To even the casual observer, it would appear that Ulrich and the rest of GPSC have sacrificed action to the rather juvenile notion that power struggles will somehow validate their existence. Needless to say, this is hopelessly misguided. Constituents confer power and legitimacy, not political maneuverings.
GPSC has long argued that it is better equipped to serve graduate students because it has their best interests at heart, but this latest squabbling does much to undercut such claims.
Were they truly interested in serving the UA's graduate students, Ulrich and GPSC would tackle the issues and win substantive victories instead of wasting the time and energy to direct vitriol at ASUA.
All told, the student voice is already hopelessly diluted, and while it is true that competing views might be advantageous, fragmenting the student voice even further is unacceptable unless GPSC's existence is centered on action and not derision.
Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Lori Foley, Ryan Johnson, Damion LeeNatali, Aaron Mackey, Mike Morefield, Katie Paulson and Tim Runestad.